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Mental Illness - Schizophrenia Research Paper

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Ashley Caldwell

March 16, 2011

Sociology 110

Professor Love

Mental Illness- Schizophrenia

There are many mental illnesses in the world. Many sociologist, criminologists, psychologists, and psychiatrists have long studied these diseases to try to find a cure, or even a starting point, of figuring out how to better approach them. Schizophrenia is a common disease in society. You may think not many people are affected with it, but they are. Schizophrenia, or split personality disorder, is a chronic and severe mental disease that affects about 1% of the American population which corresponds to about 2 million people in the United States alone. Women and men are likely to be diagnosed with this disease; however, it affects men about one and a half times more commonly than women. Children can be diagnosed with Schizophrenia, but it highly uncommon.

Paranoid Schizophrenia (preoccupied with one or more delusions), Catatonic Schizophrenia (excessive or abnormal movements), and Disorganized Schizophrenia (disorganized speech and behaviors) are some additional types of the schizophrenic illness. Many researches have not found an exact cause of schizophrenia. Some believe it is coherence with genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. There are many symptoms that Schizophrenic people encounter on a daily basis. Sleep insomnia, rigidness, slow or speeded movements, detachment, hypersensitivity, sudden mood changes (i.e. irritability, hostility, anger), dropping out of activities, social isolation (i.e. little interaction with friends and family), delusions and hallucinations, to name a few, are some of the examples of symptoms in a schizophrenic person.

Researchers have studied and found that people who have immediate connection with others who have experienced any type of mental illness (.e.g. Bipolar disorder, depression) in their family are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia. They use the nature v. nurture theory to explain how it a person becomes infected with this disease. It has been said that schizophrenic symptoms may be triggered by being exposed to a specific environment. For example, nature (genes) and nurture (environment) both play a significant percentage in that they may both have some thing that triggers schizophrenic symptoms. In other words, if a schizophrenic person lives in an environment where his/her symptoms are susceptible to flaring up, then the environment will develop the disease in that person. Or, if a schizophrenic person lives in an environment where his/her symptoms are not susceptible to be triggered, then that person will be able to live a normal life without supervision.

Studies show that schizophrenic patients have various morphological and structural abnormalities in various regions of their brains. These abnormalities are believed to have been caused by neurodevelopment disturbances suggesting that the disease may have organic causes. It has also been studied and found that because the disease is an "organic" process, schizophrenia is not a curable disease. However, it can be very well maintained. Many antipsychotic drugs may not help maintain the symptoms.

Psychologically, schizophrenia is more so geared towards the effects and emotions of the brain, particularly in that it is considered a disease that affects the brain more than any other region in the body. Hearing noises when no one is present, suddenly feeling persecuted (or under attack) are some of the most common behaviors found in Schizophrenic people that are considered to be psychological.

Some statistics show that medical treatment for schizophrenic patients are very costly, not only for the families, but for society as well. In 2002, for example, the overall cost was an estimated $62.7 billion, including $22.7 billion in excess direct health care cost ($7.0 billion outpatient, $5.0 billion drugs, $2.8 billion inpatient, and $8.0 billion long-term care). It is also stated that the earlier schizophrenia is treated, the better the outcome of the symptoms within the patient. There are many resources to coping with schizophrenia. There are many rehab centers, psychiatric facilities, and organizations. The National Association for the Mental Ill (NAMI) is one organization. This is a private, nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of life of all people affected by serious mental illnesses. Founded in 1979, it has grown to own more than 1,000 local and state locations throughout the U.S. It provides help for not only the mental ill, but also the families of mental ill patients. It provides more than 150 programs that offer information on mental illnesses and available treatments

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